Since being blown out by the San Antonio Spurs 93-71 on Jan. 5, the Dallas Mavericks have turned their season around, winning 12 of 15 games, with two of their losses coming on buzzer-beating three-pointers from the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers.
But while Dallas has integrated five new players into their rotation while dealing with a host of injuries, the Oklahoma City Thunder have raced out to a 16-4 record, the best in the NBA.
They travel down I-35 Wednesday night in what should be a revealing look at where the new-look Mavericks compare to the top of the Western Conference. The two teams have split the season series so far, with Oklahoma City winning at home on a buzzer-beater from Kevin Durant on Dec. 29 and Dallas holding serve 100-87 at the American Airlines Center on Jan. 2.
The Mavericks will be without Jason Kidd, but that may be a blessing in disguise against an athletic Thunder back-court, as Rodrigue Beaubois and Delonte West have played extremely well together in the starting line-up.
Dallas will need a big game from Dirk Nowitzki, who has struggled over most of the last month with a lingering knee injury, to keep pace with Kevin Durant, the NBA's third leading scorer at 26.8 points per game.
The 7:00 PM game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.